movies: April 2005 Archives


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A little TV on in the background this afternoon, and at one point, I am urged to rush out so that I can "Own this Oscar-winning movie on DVD today!" The movie in question is Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. I didn't see it, but I might want to--I've got nothing against it per se. And yet, across the screen in small print as I hear this exhortation, I learn that LSSUE won the Oscar for Best Makeup.

I don't object to Academy Awards that reward the hard work of all the people behind the scenes--it takes a village to make a movie. But c'mon. How far are we away from the day when some studio literally hires some guy named Oscar, whose job it is to "nominate" movies for something meaningless, so that every movie they advertise is "Oscar-nominated"? If the studios are hiring the same marketing flacks responsible for telling us about the varying amounts of flavor present in the largely flavorless bottles of water that pass for American beer, then it shouldn't be too much longer.

That is all.

Love, Exciting and New

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Fellas, grab your sweeties! The cinematic treat destined to go down as the "date movie" of the year just hit theaters today, and so naturally, I just hit the theater today to see it. I'm talking about Sin City, Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of the classic graphic novels by Frank Miller.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "But Collin, how in the world can you call that a date movie?! I've seen the trailer, and it looks like a non-stop festival of violence, as we might expect from the guys who brought us Kill Bill and From Dusk to Dawn..." That's what I thought, too, at first. But then I went to see it, and I realized that the trailers were more than a little misleading.

Rodriguez's bold decision to film SC in black-and-white evokes a simpler time, far from the violence and corruption of the present day, and it gives us a chance to get to know the characters as individuals. In many ways, SC is driven by dialogue--you may find yourself at times getting lost in the peaceful rhythms of the characters' everyday lives, as they live and learn and grow as people. In this sense, Sin City is reminiscent of Merchant and Ivory in its ability to capture and represent both the contentment and growth that suffuses the lives of its characters.

And the romance--oh! the romance! From Marv's unwavering (albeit at times confused) devotion to Goldie, to Dwight's almost primal respect for Gail's strength, to Hartigan's 8-year correspondence with Cordelia/Nancy, Sin City is almost a movie where we might say that even the main characters themselves support the invisible protagonist Love. Even in the opening scene, Josh Hartnett (in a cameo) sets the tone with a heartfelt vow to protect Marley Shelton from the demons that haunt her, a vow that, as we see it culminate, can't help but last forever. In some ways, Miller's novels represent our generation's contribution to the great love stories of all time, and this cinematic adaptation cannot help but cement that reputation.

Perhaps you will see some reviews that refer to the occasional outburst of violence, but truthfully, those rare episodes are overwhelmed by the sensitive characterization that Rodriguez manages to evoke in this film. At the end of the film, it was all I could do to choke back tears as Hartigan finally manages to resolve his differences with the man that loved Nancy before he did. Marv's single-minded pursuit of the truth, even in the face of resistance, is inspirational. And Gail's struggle to maintain her independence is nothing short of a story about the stirring triumph of the human spirit.

Sin City is a movie that just might change the way you think about movies. And it's a movie that, as part of an evening that begins with a quiet, romantic meal, can't help but provoke lively interchange afterwards. Really. What more could you ask for?



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This page is a archive of entries in the movies category from April 2005.

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